Portishead's Geoff Barrow, Phantogram Clash Over Theft Accusation

Band denies 2010 track "When I'm Small" cribbed beat from drummer's song

Portishead's Geoff Barrow has accused Phantogram of stealing a sample of him playing drums for their song 'When I'm Small.' Credit: Kevin Nixon/Prog Magazine/TeamRock via Getty Image

Portishead drummer Geoff Barrow has accused electro-rock duo Phantogram of stealing the drumbeat he played on a the song "Charlie's Theme" by the Jimi Entley Sound for their track "When I'm Small," which came out in 2010. Linking to the user-generated sample site WhoSampled, the drummer tweeted earlier this week at the group, "Just wondering why I'm playing the drums on one of your tracks? Any thoughts?" When they did not reply to him in two days' time, he tweeted, "must be busy."

The group finally got back to him on Tuesday. "Sorry for slow reply," the band wrote in one tweet. "We're both big fans of your work." And in another, they wrote that they wanted to direct-message him to make the conversation easier. "Short version: our drums not taken from Entley record," they said.

"So you are saying that they are not my drums and my playing on your 'When I'm Small,'" Barrow replied. "They are yours? Correct?"

Barrow has a history of accusing other artists of jacking his beats. In May, he claimed that the R&B singer and producer the Weeknd had swiped the drum line from Portishead's 2008 single "Machine Gun" for his "Belong to the World." At the time, the Portishead member shared a letter that a rep for the Weeknd had sent him in February 2013 asking to clear the sample. The Weeknd has claimed that his beat was "inspired" by Barrow's.

"When someone asks to sample you and you refuse, they should have the respect as a fellow artist to not use it," Barrow wrote at the time. "We usually give sample clearance to tunes we like. It's got fuk [sic] all to do with money! As most of them are hip-hop artists that are [poor]." He also wrote, "I don't wanna get paid...I just want my beat back."